On tonight’s season 6 premiere episode of The Vampire Diaries, Elena emotionally blackmails Luke, Alaric adjusts to life as a vampire. Caroline tries to find a way to break the boundary spell around Mystic Falls. Bonnie and Damon’s whereabouts are revealed, sort of.

Summer is over, and everybody is trying to adjust to the new status quo. Mystic Falls remains a no-fang zone thanks to the Travelers, but don’t step outside the city limits. Two campers get their throats ripped out the minute they do. New vamp in town, or has one of the gang gone off the rails?

Fallout

Elena is back at Whitmore, although how she acquired the credits to become a sophomore is a mystery in and of itself. Alaric is back and a vampire. He’s also conveniently now a college professor at Whitmore. Far cuter and less creepy than that Shane guy. Jeremy is trying to forget Bonnie by scoping out other local talent, and he and Matt are still roomies. Over-achiever Caroline has dropped out of school, but Tyler, also enrolled at Whitmore, and he and Elena aren’t letting her off the hook that easily.

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Lingering

Caroline is hanging out on the outskirts of Mystic Falls and trying to find a spell to undo the Travelers’ spell. With Alaric’s help, she’s been reading every occult book she can get her hands on. She’s peeved that Elena may be physically in college, but emotionally she’s taken up residency in the state of denial. Caroline, who was never a Damon fan anyway, doesn’t understand her friend’s apparent lack of perpetual mourning. The good sheriff reminds her daughter that Elena has experienced more than her fair share of guilt, and her daughter should cut the only bestie she has left some slack.

What Caroline doesn’t know is that Elena has been taking psychotropic herbs to help her have hallucinations of Damon. Her supplier? Luke. He’s been on a bit of a guilt trip, so he’s been taking some risks to make amends.

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Gone Baby Gone

Stefan is off working as a mechanic and supposedly trying to locate a witch who might be able to contact Bonnie and Damon. He hasn’t been in contact with his best gal pal, Caroline, or anyone else with the exception of Alaric. He is having a fling with a local girl named Ivy (Emily Chang).

Matt’s in training for the day when Mystic Falls isn’t so dullsville anymore. Jeremy is content to hook up with randos and playing video games. That kid has been in high school for the duration of the show, and it doesn’t look like graduating is one of his priorities. Matt reminds Jeremy that he still is a hunter and urges him to use his skills. Jeremy argues that no more magic means he’s not a hunter anymore. Maybe the attacks occurring around the town’s borders will change his attitude.

Second Thoughts

Luke finally takes a stand and refuses to provide Elena with any more herbs. She reminds him that they are friends even though he’s accountable for what happened to Damon and Bonnie. The thought of not being able to see Damon sends her into a tailspin. So, the only thing holding her together is the illusion of her former relationship. 

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The Werewolf Gene Lingers

Tyler may no longer be a hybrid, but he’s still an angry jock-ass. Alaric is concerned that Tyler is stupid enough to do something to trigger the curse all over again. Tyler assures Alaric that he’s getting all his aggression out on the football field. Tyler also seems to have developed a crush on Liv which Alaric assures him is a dead end.

Adjusting

A love interest looks to be on the horizon for Alaric, if he can get his new found thirst under control. Her name is Jo (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe), and she’s a doctor as well as Elena’s boss at the medical center. Ric realizes that along with losing his humanity, he lost his way with the ladies.

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Elena’s Grief Revealed

There is a side effect to all the hocus pocus herbs that Elena has been ingesting, it has increased her appetite, and blood bags aren’t doing the trick. She’s been feeding on people as well. She feeds on a stranded motorist and is caught in the act by Caroline. The girl is able to escape before Elena can catch and compel her. She heads right into Mystic Falls where Elena can’t follow.

Caroline assumes Elena is the border lurker her mother has been hunting. Elena seems to have no memory of doing that much hunting but assumes she must be the culprit. I’m still not convinced.

She confesses to Caroline about the herbs and her increased appetite. Elena says she tried to grieve him, that she has the act down to a science, but she can’t get it right this time. If she lets it sink in that she’ll never see Damon again, she feels like she’s going to die. This should appease Caroline, who thought Elena was just a tad more ambivalent.

Caroline tells Elena to take off a lay low while she gets her mom to cover her bestie’s very messy tracks. If anyone knows how to cover up vampire attacks, it’s Sheriff Forbes.

A desperate Elena calls Stefan. She begs him for a glimmer of hope that there’s a way to bring Damon back. Little does she know, he’s been more interested in trying to put his brother and the whole Mystic Falls crowd behind him. Elena asks him how he’s coping, and he finally admits that he gave up hope a while ago. Stefan advises her to move on. Not exactly the best advice for a girl who is quickly coming undone. 

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A Warning

Caroline calls an inebriated Tyler and gives him the 411 on Elena. He promises that he’ll deal with Luke. Tyler warns Luke to stay away from Elena and then things get physical. Alaric breaks it up and is now even further convinced that Tyler is on his way back to becoming a werewolf.

The Goodbye Girl

Elena guzzles some more magic potion. She tells Damon she can’t see him anymore because it makes her reckless, and she hurts people. She thanks him for saving Stefan and bringing back Alaric and Tyler. Tyler? Really? Is anybody glad that asshat is back? Elena also thanks him for giving her everything she ever wanted: an all-consuming love, passion, adventure and all that crap. She tells him she loves him and says this is goodbye.

In spite of that heartfelt goodbye, Damon doesn’t just go poof. Damon, or her subconscious, tells her she can’t let go because all that awaits her is an eternity of torment, agony and grief. She proceeds to throw a tantrum and does a very ugly cry.

Elena and Alaric commiserate on how much it sucks to be a vampire. Elena says the only good part was the promise of her eternal love with Damon. She tells Alaric that the only way she can move on and fall in love again, is if he does her a favor. Because he was created by an Original vampire spell, he can compel other vampires (convenient), so she asks him to compel her to forget Damon.

So, what did happen to Bonnie and Damon? That is the mystery. But, it involves blueberry pancakes with whipped cream fangs. While the rest of the group is adrift, these two are enjoying brunch, somewhere.

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8pm on the CW.

(Image courtesy of CW)